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In the market for something speedy and luxurious? Then you might want to check out the 2021 BMW 4 Series. This luxury coupe is essentially a two-door version of the 3 Series, so you will find that a lot of similarities exist between them. While the front grille's design might make you think of a rabbit's smile (you know, bucktoothed), this does give the 4 Series something that sets it apart from every other vehicle in its segment.
BMW is known for providing a solid balance between ride comfort and handling performance, and the 4 Series does not disappoint. This fully redesigned line-up promises even better performance in this regard than before. The base 430i's engine is a 2.0-L 4-cylinder that generates 255 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, making for a nice amount of output. Of course, if that is not enough, go for the M440i, which utilizes a turbocharged 3.0-L inline-6 cylinder engine that dredges up a massive 382 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. What sets this engine apart from the turbo found in the 3 Series is that it gets a 48-volt mild hybrid system.
What does this mild hybrid system do, exactly? Aside from giving the fuel economy a slight boost, when you put the pedal to the metal and push for hard acceleration, the system can give the vehicle up to 11 hp more than normal. It makes for a nice boost of power when the vehicle needs it most.
Overall, the revamps made to the 4 Series are helpful ones. You get many more standard driver aids and infotainment features than you do on the 3 Series. Plenty of options for customization are left, though, so you can craft the 4 Series to your liking. Learn more about what's new, what makes the 4 Series awesome, what might hold it back, and how it stacks up against the competition by reading through this review of the 2021 BMW 4 Series.
What's New for 2021?
Literally everything. The 2021 BMW 4 Series has been redesigned from the ground up. Its exterior styling elements are bolder and more eye-catching, much like the 3 Series. Of course, that unique grille design might not be the most appealing, but it sure sets the 4 Series apart from the crowd. There are about five more inches of overall length and two more inches of wheelbase, which helps boost cabin and cargo space. The rear-wheel drive 440i is now gone, and the last of the manual transmission options were removed as well. Unfortunately for stick enthusiasts, exclusivity of automatic transmissions is just becoming the norm. If you go for the convertible, you get a new soft top, which opens up more head space for rear seat occupants.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2021 BMW 4-Series – The Pros
1. Precision Handling
One of the 2021 BMW 4 Series' biggest highlights is its precise handling capabilities. There is no body roll noticeable when you round through turns, and the vehicle maintains a sense of composure. You will also get enough feedback from the steering and can rest assured that the tires are remaining firmly planted on the ground as you corner.
2. A Comfortable Ride Quality
Ride quality is something that BMW has down-pat. If you have never driven a BMW, then you are in for a treat with the 4 Series. Its ride quality is packed with comfort. Speed is not necessarily a defining factor for the 4 Series, and that's okay since it gets traded for comfort. The ride quality never feels float-y, and it should keep the driver feeling engaged.
3. Two Powerful Engine Options
You get to pick from two different engine options, and they are both powerful ones. The base 2.0-L 4-cylinder is the more fuel savvy option, but it has a nice sprinting time, getting from 0 to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds on the RWD coupe or 5.3 seconds on the xDrive. The RWD convertible is heavier than the others, though, and slows down to 5.9 seconds. That is still quicker than what you would have gotten on the previous generation. Of course, you can also opt for the 3.0-L turbo inline-6 cylinder with the mild hybrid system. This will easily get to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds on the xDrive coupe or 5.0 seconds on the RWD convertible.
4. High-quality Interior Materials
As you should expect from BMW, the 4 Series' cabin is downright exquisite. Luxurious surfaces abound. It echoes a lot of what you see in the 3 Series. Chrome and leather explode in beautiful undulations, and the metallic weave trim pairs nicely. And, of course, the ambient lighting strips make for a warm, welcoming touch. High-quality? Definitely. Highly elegant? Undoubtedly.
5. A Mechanical Seatbelt Arm
Don't like the hassle of grasping for your seatbelt? There is a mechanical arm that will bring it to you! This feature is well-loved and carries over from the previous iteration of the 4 Series. It takes time and physical strain away from buckling up and is a handy feature to have inside of a luxury vehicle.
6. The New Soft Top Convertible
The convertible hard top from the previous generation is gone - thank goodness. It was small and crowded due to the lack of head space in the rear. The hard top was impractical and, let's face it, just not as convertible-y as a beautiful soft top. That's why BMW opted for a soft top design for this generation's convertible. The design is beautiful, sure, but also practical as it opens up head room in the rear.
7. A Ton of Standard Driving Aids
Standard driver aids are packed into the 4 Series. Even on the base trim, you get standard blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning, and lane departure mitigation. If you want more, you can opt for the Driving Assistance Professional package, which equips limited automated driving at slower speeds and cruise control that adapts to traffic.
8. A Feature-rich Infotainment System
The new iDrive 7.0 is packed with features (maybe a bit too packed). This is its first year on the 4 Series, and it comes with features like Experiences Mode, Caring Car, and the BMW Personal Assistant. There are a lot of ways you can configure the system too. An 8.8-inch touchscreen display is standard issue as well, providing nice, crisp graphics.
9. An Accident Recording System
One of the most helpful driver aids is an accident recording system. This is optional but highly recommended. It will record short video clips via the camera systems on the front and rear of the car, which can come in handy in case you get into an accident or sustain some sort of damage to the vehicle.
10. An Optional 10.25-inch Touchscreen and Digital Gauge Cluster
The 10.25-inch touchscreen system is a great optional upgrade, and it comes with a fully digital gauge cluster. This is perfect for techies who want to feel immersed in their vehicle's gadgets. This system comes with wireless smartphone app integration (via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) and built-in navigation.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2021 BMW 4-Series – The Cons
1. The New Front Grille
Okay, we admit that the front grille looks ridiculous. The previous generation had the double outlet design, but they were not mashed together and elongated to look like a set of buck teeth. This design is best left for the mouth of a rabbit. At least our biggest gripe with the new 4 Series is a silly aesthetic one. But it is kind of homely on a vehicle otherwise elegantly designed.
2. iDrive 7.0 Lacks Some Organization
The iDrive 7.0 has a ton of features, but they get crammed into confusing menus. Sifting through them takes some time, so expect a longer learning curve than you might like.
3. No More Manual Transmission Options
We sure do miss seeing manual transmissions as options on luxury vehicles. Sadly, they've gone out of fashion. BMW gave the old manual the ax for the new generation, leaving just the automatic transmission. Manuals tend to outlast their automatic counterparts and provide spunkier driving performances, which is something the 4 Series could have benefited from.
4. Pricier Than Many Rivals
The 2021 BMW 4 Series looks a bit pricier than some of its rivals. The higher you go in trim levels and the more options you add, the more the overall cost skyrockets. Some buyers might need to stick to the basics on this one just so that they do not blow through their finances.
How It Stacks Up to the Competition:
2021 BMW 4 Series vs. 2021 BMW 3 Series
We have to do it - compare the siblings, that is. The 4 Series now echoes much of what you find in the 3 Series but obviously has a different design. The 3 Series has superb handling, just like the 4 Series. It also comes with an array of powerful and fuel efficient engine options and a lovely interior design. However, it too has the complex iDrive 7.0 system holding it back from pure greatness.
2021 BMW 4 Series vs. 2021 Audi A5
The 2021 Audi A5 is sophisticated in an understated fashion. Its design won't strike you the way the 4 Series' does, and the front grille is chic (and, thankfully, not bucktoothed). Its driving performance is solid across the board, and there are many standard and optional features to utilize. On the downside, the A5 does not have as much storage space inside of its cabin as the 4 Series does.
Despite the shudder you might experience upon first glance at the front grille, the 2021 BMW 4 Series is a stunning vehicle in many ways. Its design speaks to the standards BMW has for quality and luxury. And, while the iDrive 7.0 could be better organized, the amount of standard infotainment features and driver aids is sure to please many first-timers and returning BMW buyers. The revamped 4 Series is definitely the car to get this year if you're looking to sit in the lap of luxury.
• Why buy a 2020 BMW 4-Series? w/ pros vs cons